Altered States

The groundbreaking painter, writer, and performance artist Brion Gysin was, above all, a seeker. A close friend of William Burroughs, Gysin explored the outer edge of human consciousness, with and without “artificial” stimulants. (His last words, in 1986, were, “Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”) Nik Sheehan’s fascinating film FLicKeR, the first hit of the month-long series “The Stoned Apocalypse,” revives Gysin’s spark and spirit and, centrally, the all-natural trip launcher he co-invented and dubbed the Dreamachine. This simple piece of machinery, consisting of a silver cylinder with bits cut out spinning around an incandescent bulb, triggers eyes-closed, color-laden visions through the magic of light stimulation. Or so attests a thoughtful cadre of veteran trippers, including Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, and DJ Spooky. The rare documentary that jumps beyond informative and entertaining into the realm of mind-expanding, FLicKeR blends revelatory biography, energizing philosophy, and seductive trances. Accompanying his film’s U.S. premiere, the Canadian director plans to show off a newly designed dream machine. Captain Nik will get you high tonight — if he gets it through Customs.
Thu., Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m., 2008

 
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